LONDON – Modelization.
It's not a word you will find in any dictionary. In fact, it only exists in the vocabulary of Bela Karolyi when it comes to describing how to win Olympic gymnastics team gold in dominating fashion.
"Practice, practice, and modelization…and doing the same thing you have to do in the most difficult times," the patriarch of U.S. Gymnastics said in helping provide the word's closest definition.
Mimicking the pressure-packed situations at the London Games – down to the deafening cheers of the sold-out crowd at North Greenwich Arena by piping in noise during pre-Olympic training – served as the blueprint for the U.S. women's spectacular gold-medal performance on Tuesday night.
America's new Fab Five of Gabby Douglas, Jordyn Wieber, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, and Kyla Ross stared down the daunting task of outperforming the defending Olympic champion China, plus the powerful Russians and Romanians, and weren't fazed one bit. They produced one clean routine after another for a total of 183.596 points – more than five points better than the silver-medalist Russians.
For Karolyi, the display reaffirmed the system he implemented in USA Gymnastics in 1999 and the system that Marta, his wife and U.S. team director, has watched over "like a mother hen."
"[The keys] are standing on the apparatus and working extremely, extremely hard before the competition and modeling exactly what we're going to get," Karolyi said. "Day and night, day and night, we're modeling and modeling and modeling, including the voice explosion of the crowd. Everything was implemented in our program, knowing what we were going to get."
After the team trials in San Jose, Karolyi expressed the utmost confidence in a group of teenagers with no Olympic experience. He stood before reporters, pointed to the London Games, and called this shot: "I guarantee one thing…that we will be solidly in first place for the team [competition]. No question about it."
How could he have so much confidence in these Babe Ruths?
Because he knew McKayla Maroney was going to produce the night's highest score with a 16.233 and the best vault he's ever seen.
"And to not reward it for execution with a perfect 10? I could not believe it," he said Tuesday night.
Because he knew Wieber, the current world champion in the all-around, would rebound from the disappointment of not qualifying for Thursday's all-around final.
"I'm so glad for her."
And because he knew the Russians weren't your typical nerves-of-steel Russian squad.
"They practice the same way they perform on the floor…all of this monkeying and jumping around…that's not the way to win an Olympic Games."
But the Karolyis sure know how to win at the Olympic Games. And he and Marta have another dominant display to back up Bela's words.
Even the made-up ones.More Olympics coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• Dan Wetzel: Don't blame a rule for Jordyn Wieber's plight -- blame gymnastics
• Memorable Moments: Kerri Strug vaults to stardom after saving U.S. gymnastics gold
• Photos: The Magnificent Seven gymnasts -- Where are they now?
- Sports & Recreation
- Bela Karolyi
- Jordyn Wieber